Revisiting Childhood Haunts
Even before I had kids, I was excited to bring them home, to my parents’ house, the site of my childhood. What will they think of the pond edged with purple irises and dotted with inky black tadpoles? Will they brush Kirsten and Molly’s hair with proper reverence? Will they be scared of the wooden owl in the barn rafters? Will they appreciate Blueberries for Sal? Will they be enchanted with burbling brooks streaming through sun dappled woods?
My kids are now almost four and almost two, and I’ve spent a goodish amount of time at my childhood home recently, and it’s been kinda awesome. Charlie especially is finally old enough to appreciate the childhood utopia that is my parents’ home. Old farmhouse, lots of fields, lots of forests, lots of magic.
Ever since he could walk, I’ve dragged Charlie down through the fields to the old pond my Pepe dug up, trying to impress upon him that this is a special place, this is a sacred place. This is where his mummy spent hours making stew from bark and winterberries, playing “lost prairie girl” until it was dark. This is where daddy asked mummy to marry him. This is where ferns unfurl their curled up potential, waving their lacy fronds in the wind. This is where I dared Auntie Megan to walk on the icy pond in late February. This is where I cackled with cruel glee when she fell through the weak ice up to her armpits. Etcetera.
When Charlie was two, he complained about walking through the prickly grass, and I hauled him the rest of the way. He looked blankly at the pond and asked for a granola bar.
When Charlie was three, I forced him outside on a blustery autumn day, determined to create some beautiful mother-son memories. He whined about the wind, and we marched back up the hill in utter defeat.
This year though, I asked Charlie if he wanted to go fishing. “Yeah!” he said, game as hell. Wren is always game, so she came along too.
I told them all about the sugar Maples with their clear, cold, sweet spring sap, and delighted even myself by stumbling upon patches of tiny wild strawberries, each the size of a pinky tip. Charlie laughed for joy as he made leaf boats and sailed them down the mossy dark stream, was awestruck by the tadpoles, and spent so much time fishing up soggy leaves that it was me that had to urge him back to the house.
We returned triumphantly, mouths stained red with strawberry juice (“Mmmm! They’re so good mum! They’re my favorite strawberry!”). Childhood relived, childhood celebrated.
Here are some photos of us living it up in the beautiful Massachusetts springtime.